The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have blamed each other as an early morning windstorm destroyed facilities at Transmission company premises in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
The incident which occurred on Tuesday during an early morning rain in Uyo City destroyed electric poles, cables and a transformer near the fence at Afaha Ube Transmission station.
An eyewitness and resident in the street, Mr Edet Emmanuel said the rain and windstorm started at about 4 am cutting off the branch of an ornamental tree planted by the fence of the transmission company.
Emmanuel said the fallen branch affected low-tension cables and poles planted near the transformer causing them to collapse and blocking the entire road against motorists and pedestrians.
He said if the incident had occurred in the day, it would have killed several persons in the area.
“The poles have no concrete base as they have all expired. Even the poles which the cables that connect to the transformer have all decayed.
“Look at the wall that protects the transformer, it has decayed completely. How do you expect them to survive the windstorm?
“The storm was not even strong enough to pull down electric poles but because the Power Holding Electricity Distribution (PHED) facilities are not strong, it pulled them down within a short time.”
Speaking to newsmen at the site of the incident along Afaha Ube, off Ikot Ekpene road in Uyo, a senior official of PHED at the IBB Way branch, Uyo described the incident as ‘an Act of God.”
While exchanging words with officials of the affected Transmission station, the PHED Operational Manager exonerated themselves from the disaster and argued that it was not their duty to trim the tree planted in Transmission premises though it had caused havoc to power lines within the Transmission station.
One of the staff of the Transmission station who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimization by his employers explained that it was the duty of PHED to clear all cable lines from any obstruction but they refused to do so.
“I have called PHED officials severally to come and cut down this tree to serve their cable lines from disaster but they didn’t show up till it caused this damage today.
“It is the responsibility of PHED to change weak facilities like poles, clear the power lines and replace other weak installations that may cause danger to their lines but they ignore it.
Meanwhile, one of the residents of Afaha Ube where the Transmission station is built Mr Bassey Otu have complained of some anti-social activities of PHED against them.
They listed such acts by PHED against them to include outrageous bills, refusal to repair transformers and cables and inability to replace weak poles in the streets.
“Recently, PHED demanded N250,000 from us as electricity bill. They conspired with the community leaders to bring outrageous bills.
“PHED can not replace weak cables. In extreme cases, we repair transformers, buy poles while they come to collect bills only.” he queried.
Follow The Trumpet on all our social media platforms for more updates: